MIDDLEBURG – The Paranormal Investigators of the First Coast investigate the occult, ranging from demonic entities to ghostly apparitions and everything in between, and one of the most haunted houses they’ve investigated was in Middleburg.
The haunted house isn’t even a house – it’s a trailer – but that didn’t stop what PFC founder Misty Darnell believes to be one of the most intense demonic live-ins she’s ever experienced. This case began like any other case for PFC. They received a call and Darnell went to check the place out before bringing her entire squad.
“When I got to the property, me and the other person I had with me felt it,” Darnell said. “It felt very heavy. There was a get-out-of-my-space feeling we both had.”
Darnell is what she calls a medium, which means she has a connection to the paranormal that allows her to feel, speak to and understand the other side. It all started when she was 10 years old. She grew up in northern Kentucky and around that age, she began to experience what she refers to as negativity. She brushed it off, not realizing that what she was hearing, seeing and feeling could be something paranormal.
The years passed by and she continued to feel these things. A mix of terror and fear of people believing her to be out of her mind kept her silent about what she was experiencing but around the age of 13, a friend at her house experienced the same thing.
“I’m not crazy,” Darnell remembers thinking to herself.
Darnell continued to live with this secret until her 20s. After literally looking up ghostbusters in the phone book and trying to rid herself of whatever she was experiencing at the time, she began to research the paranormal. This led her to discover that she experienced what she had experienced because she was a medium.
It was during her 20s that she learned to hone this ability in and by her 30s, she was quite confident in her abilities. After moving to Florida, she soon after founded PFC, a nonprofit paranormal investigation group not after fame or money, but with the goal of helping others and providing resolution.
“I want to help those experiencing what I experienced all those years back,” Darnell said. “I want them to understand what it is, if it’s something at all, and what kind of steps we can take to reach a resolution. It’s about helping those in need.”
PFC is based in Jacksonville, an area Darnell says is lacking in paranormal help and research, but the nonprofit investigates things all over the First Coast. Houses in Arlington, trails in rural Florida, buildings in St. Augustine, the old Clay County Jailhouse and more make up some of PFC’s adventures in its four-year life so far.
Despite the investigations under the belt of PFC, the Middleburg trailer, dubbed “The Evil One” on PFC’s website, still had Darnell and her team spooked – something that doesn’t happen often these days.
The Middleburg client contacted Darnell and said something negative was happening in the house.
“She thought there was a demonic entity trying to possess her fiancé and it was affecting everyone in the house, including their toddlers,” Darnell said. “They felt oppressed, which for me is something I know to be the feeling right before possession.”
Darnell said the client’s baby’s eyes were reported to have turned black, periodic sounds like scratching on the walls were frequent, and apparitions walking through the house happened quite often.
One of the client’s friends was over at the house and thought somebody had broken into the house after seeing what appeared to be a shadowy man walk into the kitchen, open the refrigerator door, grab a drink and shut it.
“They couldn’t find any evidence to show that somebody had possibly broken in,” Darnell said.
After Darnell and a fellow investigator visited the house for a quick check, she knew almost immediately that something paranormal was happening at the house. She remembers the shadowy figure walking down the hallway to the left in the house that she and her fellow investigator saw upon entering the home. She returned with her team that night.
The team that night consisted of four investigators equipped with cameras, Electronic Voice Phenomenon readers, K2 Electromagnetic Field gadgets and more.
“There were crosses all over the walls and our K2 EMF meter was constantly going off over them,” Darnell said. “One of our investigators determined that there weren’t any electronics on the wall or within it, no stud or anything. So we knew it was something paranormal that our K2 meter was picking up on.”
Darnell said not so long into the investigation, one of her team members was scratched. Needing a break to prepare for what the night was about to be, her team regrouped outside to form a plan for the night.
The scary thing about these investigations, Darnell said, is that a lot of what happens isn’t discovered until after the fact. The team’s EVP meters pick up on audible sounds like laughs and words that are said after Darnell or someone else asks questions to the other side.
“We don’t hear those responses until after the fact,” Darnell said.
On the PFC website under the evidence tab, you can listen to recordings of an audible laugh their EVP reader picked up that night as well as a paranormal “Kevin” reply to a question asked by Darnell.
Their reader picked up on little girls singing and asking to play, too. Darnell said a usual investigation lasts about seven hours but that she and her team wrapped this one up a few hours early after an extremely powerful show of force from the other side.
“In the main bedroom, we were doing an EVP session when all of a sudden, our tripod was lifted up and set back down,” Darnell said. “Normally, I would not be threatened by this but that plus the scratching, the knocking, what we were seeing….I told my team we needed to wrap up. I didn’t want anything to happen and if we had continued forward that night, some things would have probably escalated.”
Darnell said while Hollywood and TV shows tend to dramatize paranormal experiences – it’s more about small sounds and movements than it is about ghosts or demons slamming adults into walls – there are instances where a demon or something paranormal shows their hold on a house or person. The tripod being lifted off of the ground was one of them.
“Usually, we’d come up with a plan to cleanse the home but in this instance, we recommended that the family just move, and they did end up moving,” Darnell said. “The client and I still talk to this day and she said once she moved out of that place, her life returned to normal.”
Darnell got what she calls an attachment from that Middleburg experience. That’s when something paranormal attaches itself to you. In this case, it was a very negative spirit. Darnell said another medium noticed the attachment immediately upon seeing her for the first time since the Middleburg investigation.
“The paranormal can cling to not just houses, but people and objects, too,” Darnell said.
She’s since had the attachment removed but the Middleburg house is still something she thinks about and from what she’s heard, things are still happening at that house to this day.
“It was a property built in the 1970s and it has changed owners 10 times,” Darnell said. “That’s a lot for a house built in the 70s. The people that lived there never lived there for longer than about five years and it’s since been turned into a rental property. We believe somebody that lived in the house at one point did something to invite the negativity into that home. It could have been something occult or even a Ouija board.
“We still don’t know exactly what happened in that home.”